The title of our entry implies that we are “holding” on to hope and/or “keeping hope alive”, excuse the cliche, as we move forward. In our Sunday Church School classes, we have completed a study of the book of Jeremiah, and specifically focused on destruction and restoration. Because of repeated and blatant sin, God brought His wrath against His chosen people, the Israelites. When I say repeated and blatant sin, it was all that, and more. But are we so different in this 21st century? Don’t we commit sins which are repeated and blatant? Even though God’s punishment, if you will, was harsh and the duration 70 years, during the last several chapters, God sent word through his prophet Jeremiah, words of consolation. Now I’m not going to repeat all of the scriptures in this text, because really I want you to read the book:), but I will point out that through it all, God is saying that He wants us to be His people, and He wants to be our God. If you have ever felt like giving up and that you can never get back on the right track, read the book of Jeremiah. God makes it very clear that although disregard for His principles will bring very unpleasant consequences, He stands ready to forgive and to restore. The last several chapters are referred to as the chapters of “consolation”, and that’s a very apt description. If you want to be uplifted, read the book of Jeremiah. If you want to feel like you are really special and that God loves just you, read the last several chapters and see how God says He is going to take care of you after the battle is over. Sometimes we are engaged in battle because of our own choices, and other times, we are in the battle because “life happens”. In either case, God is your source. He is your answer.
In light of the scriptures references and the fact that our focus has been holding on to hope, what implications do you see for our society today? How should we help others hold on to hope when it seems like all hope is gone? When we think about all that is happening in our world today, and how it seems to be so easy for our youth and our protectors to take a life, how do we help those who are despondent and disillusioned have hope for tomorrow? Do you feel there are any situations which are beyond the saving grace of God? Finally, what is our response to those who have returned from prison or those who have gotten up after falling from grace?
Learning to apply scripture to our daily lives is what helps us to embrace our challenges and live the type of lives God has designed for us. Join in the conversation and let us know what you are thinking and what questions you have about the questions we raised. You also have an open invitation to join us at Weeping Willow for one of our Worship Experiences: Morning Glory @ 8:00am and The Worship Experience @ 10:30 am–both on Sunday Mornings. W.O.W. (Worship on Wednesday @ 12:00 pm and 6:30pm, and Sunday Church School @ 9:30 each Sunday Morning.
Devotional Reading: I Peter 1:13-21; Background Scripture: Haggai 2:10-19
Key Verse: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomgranate and the olive tree have not bourne fruit. From this day on I will bless you. Haggai 2:19
As people of God, we must realize that our obedience to Him should not be governed by the level of our material well being. We should not decide to obey God and/or live a pure life simply on the basis that we will get “something” out of it. This is considered an unclean attitude, and this translates into defiled worship.
Our text speaks of unclean items which could defile the person and/or the worship tent. With that being said, when have you seen the impurity of one person have an impact on a larger group? How has that experience infuenced you personally?
I would love to read your comments.
Remember: Purity must be intentional
Devotional Reading: John 10:1-10; Background Scripture: Leviticus 25:8-55; Isaiah 61; Luke 4:14-21
Key Verse: He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21
A few years ago, there was a popular book by Rick Warren, which focused the readers on their purpose for living. The Purpose Driven Life, which is still in print, challenged readers to move beyond and give soul-searching thought to the question, Why am I here? And Why am I here at this particular time?
More than 2000 years ago, Isaiah prophesied about oppression of the poor; yet he also spoke comfort and relief for those who were less fortunate. The text we are studying for this lesson, speaks of that very comfort. God never meant for any of his children to be slaves. However, when disobedience resulted in a natural consequence, god established a plan for relief. Indeed, god had a plan to set the captives free.
How can we rescue people from the various things/situations that hold them captive today?
In verse 2 in our scripture from Isaiah, the writer talks about comfort, but it involves much more than simply opening a prison cell. He is talking about restoration of inheritance. He is referring to the fact that God plans to grant, the people, the desires of their hearts.
This is really good news! What would our world look like, if all of us could fully grasp God’s mission, purpose, and love for us?
This lesson is deep, I am waiting to read your comments.
Devotional Reading–I Cor. 15:12-20; Background Scripture–Hosea 6:1-3; Luke 24:1-12
The Third Day–Think about that for a moment. What if when trials, destruction, suffering, and devastation explodes into our lives, we sit quietly and remember “the third day” rather rather than allowing worry and angst to over take us. How much different would our lives be? Scripture tells us that one day is like a thousand days to God, so when we think of waiting, it may seem like a lifetime to us, but to God, it’s only three days.
Realizing that Jesus was the resurrected savior was an immediate blessing to the women as well as the disciples. How does knowing that Jesus lives affect your life? As a result of His resurrection, what blessings are available to you?
When the women relized Jesus was alive, they ran to tell others. Whaat have you done or what do you do to let others know that Jesus Lives?
Because Jesus rose on the third day, we can triump, we have hope, and we are delivered. Share your comments.
Devotional Reading: Hebrews 7:11-19; Background Scripture: Jeremiah 23:5,6; Zechariah 6:9-15; John 19:1-5; Hebrews 7:13.
The scripture for the lesson last week as well as today’s lesson directs us to what the prophets foretold. At first, one might ask, “Why are not looking at events which take place between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday?” I had that same question, but as quickly as I formed the question in my mind, I also received the answer–God always had a plan for our redemption. Another thought that struck me was the phrasing of “branch-King”. What is the symbolism of the branch? Think about it for a second: A branch is an extension of the tree. A branch can help us cross a river, keep us from falling out of a tree, or can steady us when we are weak. Jesus Christ is an extension of God. He can help us cross over any troubling areas in our lives. His loving arms are outstretched to catch us when we fall, and His strength holds us up when we are weak. The more you meditate on these truths, the clearer the symbolism becomes.
Jesus was fully man, and yet, He is God. Jesus is King of all kings, and He is indeed our Righteous Savior. How do you allow His righteousness to manifest itself in your life? What spiritual sacrifices can you offer offer to God this week that will be most pleasing to Him?
Remember: We serve a King who suffered and died for us. So what does your life say about your gratitude?
Devotional Readidng: Psalm 47; Background Scripture: Zechariah 9:9; 10; Matthew 21: 1-11
Triumphant and Victorious– Jesus Christ–in every situation–all the time!
In last week’s lesson, we focused on Jesus Christ as the Lamb being worthy of our worship God has given all power and authority to His Son, and He indeed is worthy of our praise. As the song writer says, “Every praise to our God”. By his death, He redeemed us and by his resurrection, he is the manifestation of the complete power of God.
In this lesson, we are looking at the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross. Zechariah foretold what was to come, and Matthew laid out the explicit details. Crowds were cheering and shouting words of praise as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Yet, how quickly the accolades turned to scorn. But wait, let’s back up a few verses. Jesus sent his disciples into the city to get a donkey. A donkey is considered a lowly animal, but also an animal of peace. Surely if the long awaited king was coming to town, he would ride in on a large horse. Not so–Jesus is the king of peace, love, gentleness, long suffering, and so much more. However as the scripture reads, the disciples did not hesitate, they did exactly what Jesus instructed them to do. What about you? When Jesus instructs you to do something, do you have a hard time doing it right away, why or why not?
Jesus was the complete essence of humility. In what ways can you aply this character trait in your life?
If Christ rode into Charlotte, and down Milton Road, what words of praise would you shout? What can yu do to take this message to your community? Jesus Christ is worthy of praise. Welcome Him into your life today.
Devotional Reading: Psalm–16:7-11; Background Scripture–Psalm 110; Mark–12:35-37; Acts–2:22-36
The foundation of the lesson is: Jesus’ resurrection is the culminating act which shows that God’s plan prevailed.
Victory was promised and Victory was achieved.
How do you allow the fact that Jesus is alive to influence your life?
When have you seen an evil intent result in ultimate good and glory to God?
The blog is open and waiting for your questions and comments.
Devotional Reading: Psalm 98; Background Scripture: 2 Samuel 7
Have you ever heard the phrase, “The best laid plans of mice and men?” This lesson reminds me of that particular statement. David had built himself a beautiful mansion, and he was making big plans to build a lavash structure for God. Now wanting to do something great for God is not a bad idea; however, this was not God’s idea. How many times do we take off running with an idea that we are sure that it came from God? Yet; we are completely disappointed when we realize that we were serving our own interests and not the plans of God. It’s not a pretty site or a good feeling, but it does happen.
If we go back a little further in 2 Samuel, we will find that even Nathan, David’s servant, thought the idea had merit. Again, constructing a building for the mighty God, was a wonderful idea, but the essence of and completeness of God didn’t then and does not now, need to be contained in a lavish building.
Where was prayer in David’s plans? Where is prayer in your plans? You know, even when we get these great ideas as to what we can do for God (yeah, like He needs us to favors for Him) , we should always pray so that we don’t put our plans in front of God’s plans. God had to remind David, as He has to remind us sometimes; He has brought us to this place, protected us from dangers seen and unseen, from the beginning of time– invited us to be in a relationship with Him, has loved us through all of our mess ups and mis-steps–He has the ultimate plan for all things. Keep your eyes on Jesus–that is where we find “an eternal kingdom”. What are your thoughts?
Greeting to all in the name of Jesus. After a period of introspection and reflection, the author of the blog has returned. This is a great lesson for a re-appearance.
“SHOW YOUR FAITH BY YOUR WORKS”–Devotional Reading: Luke 7:1-10; Background Scripture: James 2:14-26
KEY VERSE: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. James 2:26
In the above referenced text, James is questioning how the Christians, during that time, could identify true faith. While we all know that only God knows what is truly in a man’s heart, James says that we can identify true faith in ourselves by what we produce. Now this is probably close to an age-old debate: Am I saved by faith or by my works? What is your response to that question? The scripture tells us that we are saved to do good works. In other words, the good works of upbuilding the Kingdom have already been pre-ordained. We are saved to walk out the purpose for which God has called us.
James’ readers struggled to reflect God’s mercy toward others–much like us sometimes. The readers’ faith in God who met their needs, was not being expressed in their meeting the needs of others. Again, sometimes it seems like nothing has changed in over 2000 years.
How has someone’s good deeds made a lasting difference in your life?
How does the example of the faith patriarch, Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son help you act on what you believe?
What examples can you discuss to demonstrate how your faith is evident in your deeds?
I would love to read your comments. Look forward to hearing from you.
Devotional l: Luke 16:10-13; Scripture Lesson: 1 Peter 4
Key Verse: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms—! Peter 4:10
- Describe the key differences between the old, worldly life and new life in Christ
- Explain why and how Christ’s physical suffering bears on the believer’s behavior today
- Identify one gift God has given you, and describe how you are using it–or will use it–as a steward of God’s grace
How does your life reflect what God has done for you?
Through Jesus Christ, God has delivered you from the penalty of sin. Knowing that fact, how has your life changed. If you have hope in God and believe in his son, Jesus Christ, your life should reflect that attitude.
What attitudes and practices of Jesus do you most need to develop as you “arm” yourself for the Christian life?
Join us in Sunday School so that we can continue this dialogue.